India football history is rich, starting from when India was not an independent nation under British rule. There were times when Indian players had to play barefoot and other accessories against well-off teams. But with massive hard work and passion for this sport, India reigns Asia’s top footballers’ list.
Timeline of India Football History till Golden Time
With many events happening over the years, let us take a look at where India stood year by year:
Football is introduced to the subcontinent when India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan were a single nation by the British. In 1888 Mortimer Durand, India’s Foreign Secretary, Durand Cup got founded. Sarada FC got created and is India’s oldest football club. Indian Football Association (IFA) gets created in 1893 that is the first Indian Federation.
More clubs emerge as the popularity of the football sport in India rises. In 1924 the first official international tour was completed by the Indian team comprising of both the Indian and British players. The team captain at the time was the legendary football player Gostha Paul. Soon teams comprising of only Indians started world tours in the 1930s. These world tours were to Australia, Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand. The first popular and international tournament that India participated in was the 1948 London Olympics. Most of the team played barefooted and lost to France with a score of 2-1.
1950 World Cup
India qualified for the 1950 FIFA World Cup by default as all other teams in their group refused to participate. Soon All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) also backed down because of the travel costs, lack of practice, selection of players, and because they valued participating in the Olympics rather than the FIFA World Cup. To India, the football world cup had less significance than the Olympics.
1951–1962: The Golden Era
India became the best team in Asia under the authority of Syed Abdul Rahim. India hosted the 1951 Asian Games, which they won. Colombo Quadrangular Cup held in 1952 got held in Sri Lanka, where the Indian football team emerged as victors. In 1953, 1954, and 1955 the Quadrangular Cup was held in Burma, Calcutta, and Dhaka, respectively. All of which were won by the Indian team. India continued to participate in football tournaments held all over the world and continued to remain in the top ten and top four positions.
Rahim, the captain, and manager of the team, passed away in 1963. After that, India’s performance went downhill and crumbled. India football ranking in the world remains above the hundreds line in the FIFA men’s team. India hopes to remerge as one of the world’s best teams, which will not be a surprise if they do. As the whole subcontinent loves this sport!